Richard Simmons (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Richard "Dick" Simmons
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.jpg
Simmons as Sergeant Preston with Yukon King, 1955
Born (1913-08-19)August 19, 1913
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Died January 11, 2003(2003-01-11) (aged 89)
Oceanside, California, U.S.
Occupation Motion picture and television actor
Years active 1937–1982
Spouse(s) Joni Simmons (m.1941–?) (her death)
Billie Simmons (m. 2002–03) (his death)
Children Michael, Sue Bryar[1]

Richard Simmons (August 19, 1913 – January 11, 2003), known as Dick Simmons, was an American actor.

Early life[edit]

Simmons was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and his family later moved across the Mississippi River to Minneapolis. There, he attended West Side High School and then the University of Minnesota.

Career[edit]

While attending the university, Simmons competed in fencing and swimming and also acted in a few theater productions. Simmons left the Twin Cities in the 1930s to launch his film acting career in 1937. He soon became an MGM contract player. Many of his minor movie roles went uncredited through the 1940s. One even included his portrayal of a Mountie in King of the Royal Mounted produced by Republic Pictures. Starting in 1943, he began appearing in credited roles, beginning with his appearance in The Youngest Profession, starring Virginia Weidler. From 1943 through 1949, he would appear in seventeen films, of which ten listed him in the credits.

Simmons interrupted his film career to serve as a Flight Officer pilot [2] with the Air Transport Command in World War II[3]

The 1950s mirrored the 1940s, with him appearing in several films and television series, at times uncredited. In 1952 he played the co-pilot in Above and Beyond. In 1955, Simmons won his best-known role, portraying Sergeant William Preston in Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Following the end of the series in 1958, he continued to have a successful acting career, mostly in television series guest appearances, through 1982, with his last role being in CHiPs, guest-starring along with Sue Lyon and Cesar Romero.

In 1967, Simmons was cast as Meriwether Lewis, with Victoria Vetri as Sacajawea in the episode "The Girl Who Walked the West" of Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor. Don Matheson portrayed William Clark, and Victor French was cast as Charbonneau.[4] In 1969, Simmons played W. Frank Stewart, a silver mining operator who served from 1876 to 1880 as a Nevada state senator,[5] in the Death Valley Days episode "How to Beat a Badman". In the story line, Stewart is determined to gain at a bargain price a silver claim being worked by two young former outlaws, played by Tom Heaton and Scott Graham.[6]

Death[edit]

On January 11, 2003, Simmons died (with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease) in Oceanside, California at the age of 89.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jan/14/local/me-simmons14
  2. ^ Look Magazine – February 6, 1945
  3. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jan/14/local/me-simmons14
  4. ^ ""The Girl Who Walked the West" on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. November 4, 1967. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Nevada legislators, 1861-2015" (PDF). leg.state.nv.us. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ "How to Beat a Badman". Internet Movie Data Base. March 18, 1969. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ McLellan, Dennis (January 14, 2003). "Dick Simmons, 89; Played Sgt. Preston in 1950s Television Series". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 

External links[edit]